Sunday, July 27, 2008

Karachi Kids: Finally, word about the Karachi Girl.

When I say stay tuned for more info about the Karachi Kids, I am not kidding. It looks like her case may be headed to the Pakistani courts AND the airwaves. Thanks to No Compromise for letting us know about her interview on August 7 at 12 noon Pacific Time with the producers of the Karachi Kids documentary. Great get, NC! You can listen here when the big day rolls around.

In the meantime -
here's the latest from the wires.

Pakistan’s top security official will discuss the issue of an American girl holed up inside an Islamic madrassa in Karachi with US State Department officials next week in Washington, official sources said yesterday.

Rehman Malik, a cabinet member and advisor on the country’s internal security, would accompany Pakistan’s newly elected premier Yousaf Raza Gilani as he starts four-day official visit of the US today.

“Mr Rehman Malik has the file and he is now directly supervising the case,” a senior official at Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior said.

The American girl, Muna Abanur Muhamed, along with four girls from Thailand and a male student from Fiji, all in their teens, received deportation orders Monday for violating the country’s visa rules. But senior administrators of Jamia Binori, a sprawling 12-acre walled madrassa, refused to handover the students, terming the government’s move as “a great injustice and discrimination against foreign students”.

The government official said Malik would be back on July 31 and a crucial decision regarding the recovery of the students would be taken then.

Earlier, Maulana Mufti Mohamed Naeemi, founder and head of the madrassa, said that “no one could dare come near a one mile radius of our compound”. He also said all the students were living inside on their free will and were happy to continue their religious education.

Reports of the American girl and other foreign students have created an outcry in the US as well as Pakistan. The US-based South Asian Foundation for Education Reforms (SAFER) last week called for the immediate return of Muna.

“The US government must act swiftly to also release Muna and all the American children held at Jamia Binoria,” SAFER’s founder Ericka Pertierra, was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Chronicle.

Pakistan’s liberal English-language newspaper The News condemned the holding of Muna at Jamia Binoria in an editorial on Saturday.

“This of course amounts to virtual abduction. It is not known how many other children may be held in similar circumstances in other seminaries,” it said.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was willing to take up the case with a top provincial court for the recovery only if the relatives and friends approach us.

“We are ready to file a constitutional petition against this Binoria madrassa but we are facing odds as no friend and relative has approached us so far,” said Iqbal Haider, co-chairman of the HRCP.-DPA

Get up to speed with all the Karachi Kids news here.